Email can be source of entertainment or the bane of your existence. I have several email accounts, some of which just get junk mail and aren’t checked that often. But a recent email from Food and Wine (not in the junk mail account) caught my eye. The subject was “16 French Recipes for Beginners”.
I had always thought French cooking was difficult until about nine years ago. That’s when I watched the movie Julie and Julia. It’s about a food blogger who sought inspiration in her cooking from Julia Childs by making recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The movie isn’t about French cooking being easy. It’s about someone’s love of food and proving you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it.
As, I read the Food and Wine article, I noticed that I have already cooked at least 7 of the 16 recipes noted in the article. In fact, I’ve written about at least five of them in this blog; Bourguignon, Roast Chicken in Herb Jus, Black olive tapenade, Potato and Leek soup, and Ratatouille. I’ve also prepared at least three of the mother sauces of French cooking which aren’t even in the F&W article.
I’m by no means a classically trained chef, French or otherwise. What I’m getting at is that anyone can make great food with a bit of instruction, some curiosity and a love of food. I dabble with food. I try new things. Some work out well and others don’t. Some have even gone into the trash after the first bite (probably because I substituted something I shouldn’t have).
So, to get back to my topic of French cooking for beginners, I’ve tried two of the recipes that I haven’t already prepared from the list in Food and Wine; Raspberry Clafoutis and Pistachio Financiers. I love sweets and these look like dishes you could prepare for Mother’s Day. You can also check out the original list at Easy French Recipes for Beginners if you are so inclined. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well mon Amie.
Courtesy of Food and Wine
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 TBSP sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup plus 2 TBSP milk
- 1 ½ pints raspberries (about 3 cups)
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish or pie pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the dish or pan and top with the raspberries.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, cut into wedges and serve.
Courtesy of Food and Wine
Makes about 30 mini-cakes
- 1 cup whole blanched almonds, coarsely chopped (or substitute 1 cup almond flour)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
- 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 24 to 30 shelled pistachios
Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter and flour 30 mini muffin pan cups.
In a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder (or use 1 cup almond flour). In a bowl, mix the almond powder and sugar. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated, then whisk in the melted butter, followed by the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups and decorate with the pistachios.
Bake the muffins until golden brown, about 16 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You may have to loosen from pan by running a knife around the outside of each muffin.